Urgent need to combat plastic pollution in rivers


Plastic everywhere: File photo of a resident of Kg Sg Temon Besar, Johor Baru, carting away plastic bottles that end up in the mangrove swamp during low tide, along with a lot of other rubbish. — Filepic/The Star

MALAYSIA, renowned for its abundant rainforests and marine biodiversity, stands as one of the world's 17 megadiverse nations. The intricate network of 189 river basins, originating in the highlands and meandering across the country, forms the lifeblood of diverse ecosystems. However, the increasing menace of plastic pollution poses an imminent threat to the health and sustainability of these crucial waterways.

Beyond their role as vital water sources, rivers fulfil multifaceted functions such as sustaining livelihoods, providing transportation routes, generating hydroelectric power, irrigating agricultural land, establishing settlements, and offering recreational spaces. However, the health of these invaluable ecosystems is jeopardised due to human activities, with plastic pollution emerging as a prominent and irreversible threat.

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